This last bit is true, but let’s not stop there. Guzman and his cartel have also built clinics, churches and playgrounds. (It’s nice that kids have someplace to play when not being gunned down in cartel crossfires or orphaned in Guzman’s endless wars of ‘self-defense.’) But this tired rationalization of an impoverished youth and the justification of subsequent good deeds have been used by every murderous gangster since the beginning of time.
We learn that this “simple man from a simple place, surrounded by the simple affection of his sons to their father, and his toward them [pardon me while I go vomit] does not strike [Penn] as the big bad wolf of lore.”
It’s not “lore.”
By any objective standard, Joaquin Guzman Loera is an evil man who has caused untold suffering for others.
At some point in time, he will be asked to answer for this.
But not in the article that Penn wrote, and one of the most important issues is why Penn didn’t ask these questions. Penn was clearly so enamored of his subject and the article was further compromised by topics excluded under the agreement and questions that were never asked. Mr. Penn has said that Guzman didn’t request any changes. Why would he? He got to tell the story exactly the way he wanted to tell it.
And I’m shocked that Rolling Stone – fresh off the scandal from its UVA rape debacle – would give editorial approval to a mass murderer in exchange for an interview.
Penn’s story was not a failure because people failed to understand it, as he claimed on60 Minutes. It is a failure because he failed to understand who he was interviewing, the crimes his subject committed and the responsibility he had to ask real questions. Penn’s failure is further compounded by his 60 Minutes interview, which was as misguided and self-serving as the Rolling Stone article.
I applaud Sean Penn for his important work in New Orleans and Haiti, but I condemn what he did here.
He should apologize and stop trying to explain it. Sometimes wrong is just wrong.